Governor Signs Budget and Tobacco Bill

Last Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker signed the $41.7 billion FY19 state budget that the legislature had passed the previous week. Using his line-item veto authority, the Governor nixed just about $48.9 million in expenditures, which was far less than many expected. The Democratic-dominated legislature is expected to address the governor’s vetoes before the close of the legislative session tomorrow, July 31. Notably, Baker endorsed two MHA priorities in the final FY19 budget: a directive to provide $13 million in funding for disproportionate share hospitals, and a requirement to transfer up to $15 million to the Health Safety Net.

Also last week, Governor Baker signed the youth tobacco prevention bill that will raise the legal age for tobacco use to 21. MHA is a strong supporter of the new law, which will take effect on January 1, 2019.